For Better, For Worse: loving with integrity


25 years ago I wrapped up my student teaching assigment the week before and was recovering from what my fiancé thought was a very convenient case of laryngitis.


25 years ago I married my best friend.  I was young, nervous and full of hope.

25 years ago it was well below zero and we had invited several hundred of our closest friends and relatives. They all showed up; as did a good number we didn’t invite and weren’t sure we knew.

25 years ago I made big promises I didn’t have the capacity to keep; I would have to grow into them.

Yes, we were cheesy in our wedding ceremony. You can ask the wedding party and guests.  We had a lot of sappy love songs and dragged the ceremony out over an hour.  I even convinced Cathy to have a Stryper song be part of the ceremony!  It was so long we needed two pastors to get it done. We lit the candle, we gave flowers to our parents, we took time to greet the whole wedding party.  I even got a kiss from Matt, one of my groomsmen!

We also did the whole cheesy 1 Corinthians 13 thing.  That, however, wasn’t because it was cheesy.

It was how we wanted our life together to reflect the love of Jesus. We wanted our future to look like Jesus’ love.  I am now a pastor and I am deeply aware of how easily we pull that passage, which is about the life of the church and the expressions of spiritual gifts, out of context to fit the wedding occasion.

We wanted our home to be a place of patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and perseverance. Interestingly, even though that passage was read and preached at our wedding, it would take us 25 years to begin to really understand what it means to learn how to live that way.  For smart people, we can be pretty slow!

It took awhile for me to realize that Cathy isn’t my mom and didn’t exist to make me meals, clean the house and fold my clothes the way I like them folded.  It took me a while to realize, and get over, that I wasn’t going to have sex 25 hours a day 8 days a week.  It took me awhile to adjust to the idea that Cathy just might be smarter than me and have great ideas about how to do life.

After 25 years, it is still taking me awhile.  I still blow it. I still get selfish.  I still want somebody else to fold clothes and make the bed.  I don’t mind cooking, if it is what I like to eat.  I don’t even mind cleaning bathrooms, if I can have the stereo on – really loud.  After 25 years, it is still taking me awhile. The good news is I am learning.  I am growing. We both are.

Loving with integrity means making really big promises to one another and then learning how to live into them.  It takes a lifetime to do that.

She isn’t the same girl I married.  She’s smarter and wiser than she was.

She lives with more assurance and confidence in who she is.

ImageShe lives with more passion and vision than she did then.  She is more drop dead gorgeous today than she was then – and she was smoking’ then!

I had, and still have, a singular goal in my marriage.

I want to love Cathy in such a way that every room she enters lights up with her beauty which is rooted securely in the way she is able to reflect the love of Jesus.

2 responses to “For Better, For Worse: loving with integrity

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